Some Sean Connery classics from this commander of the big screen…
From his filmography with love, my heartfelt tribute to the Scottish star.
Dr. No (1/8) Movie CLIP – Bond, James Bond (1962) HD, Movieclips
At the end of last month, as a fellow Scot, I was truly devastated to hear of the passing of the Scottish born actor Sean Connery. Sean Connery was and always will be one of Scotland’s most loved celebrities on the big and wee screen. His pride in his Scottish roots was always felt in his performances. Be it in his signature accent, his passionate support for Scottish Independence and his preference for kilt wearing to many an entertainment event.
Connery’s lengthy illustrious acting career started as an extra in the Errol Flynn film Let’s Make Up (1954) and ended recently in a leading voice over role in a Scottish animated movie as Sir Billi (2012). Over the decades, Connery charmed and captivated us on the big screen in these and a wide variety of roles and genres. He acted with everyone and anyone including Dirk Bogarde, Sid James, Shelley Duvall and Catherine Zeta Jones.
Iconic movie performances included most memorably those defining six initial James Bond films. Connery as the first actor to play Bond on film paved the way and inspired the others. This performance with Connery’s well timed puns and quips showed him as a credible action man. Also as a sometimes spy and always as a believable love interest to a shed load of Bond babes of all ages. He returned for one last job as Bond in Never Say Never Again (1983), in the year of two Bond films at the box office.
In his films, he always proved himself as both a versatile leading man and a solid supporting actor. Roles included those of action man such as a cop in Outland (1981), as a passionate and romantic love interest in The Russia House (1990) and in paternal roles including Family Business (1989). He also famously added to his much-renowned sex appeal by even making a mankini look good in Zardoz (1974).
Connery added his presence to films with all-star casts, as a suspect in the Agatha Christie whodunnit in Murder on the Orient Express (1974) with Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman. He added his name to a lengthy list of actors in A Bridge too Far (1977) co-starring with his life long friend, Michael Caine. He met Caine as both actors starred in the musical South Pacific. His singing talents were heard later on film in Walt Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1954).
I love how Connery brought his always distinctive – and often impersonated – Scottish brogue to his performances. This accent was heard as he played famous Scots, such as Macbeth (1961) and in his James Bond movies. Connery also delightfully kept his own accent for characters who came from outwith his native country. Like Michael Caine, his accent was felt as part of his on-screen persona which enhanced his on-screen presence and gravitas.
Connery famously played a Russian in The Hunt for Red October (1990) and an Irish cop in The Untouchables (1987). The latter film won him a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. More bizarrely, it was heard in the Scottish based scenes as a Spaniard in Highlander (1986) and it’s (infamous) sequel Highlander II (1990).
Other more memorable roles included Indiana Jones’ dad in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) – despite being just over a decade older than Harrison Ford in real life – and as director Alfred Hitchcock leading man to Tippi Hedren in Marnie (1964). Uniquely, he also played both Robin Hood to Audrey Hepburn’s Marian in Robin and Marian (1976) telling of the later life of this legendary English outlaw. Years later he had a film stealing cameo as King Richard in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) to Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood.
He brought his sterling support to other talents including Nicolas Cage in The Rock (1996) and unintentionally stole this movie. In the Highlander movies, Connery’s role as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, a Spanish (!) mentor character to the leading role. This played by French actor Christopher Lambert. Lambert in a bit of a twist playing a character as a one time Scot who discovers his immortality through Connery’s role in this movie. Ramirez was just one of many mentor characters in Connery’s later film career.
Before Corona struck, I had hoped to celebrate this actor’s life and talent in a blogathon tribute to celebrate his 90th birthday earlier this year. That blogathon may still come, but at the moment Connery’s death still seems raw and unwanted. His death was made all seems tragic after hearing of his final days, where he was reported to be suffering from dementia. However, it was of some comfort to learn that he passed away as he slept, surrounded by his family and not alone in a hospital ward of this virus.
However, Connery still lives on through the now never-ending stories and anecdotes from those who knew him loved him and worked with him. But as a film blogger and Scot, Sean Connery will always be remembered always and as the man behind that Scottish accent, an actor, Scottish advocate and passionate golfer. And as actress Shelley Winters famously quipped as “one of the tallest and most charming and masculine Scotsmen” and as Connery’s personal tattoo proclaimed part of “Scotland Forever”.